I am not a writer but I would like to tell my story of my waking up to some realities of my life.
I have suffered from justifying and rationalizing many things in my life in order to not truly deal with them. One of these things is my weight. I started to get chubby in my early teens and was 200 lbs by the time I was 17. I have always thought I looked fat in the mirror but I was told by many people that I wasn't fat and didn't look fat. I spent roughly the next 35 years weighing between 215 and 238 lbs on a 6ft frame knowing I was overweight and being less healthy than I should have been. I had truly accepted the extra weight as okay and just a part of who I was.
For many years my wife and I have dreamed, imagined and talked about taking a vacation that would involve seeing many great national treasures like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc. and of course go ride some of the great mtb locations along the way. Well, the planets finally aligned for us around spring 2011 so that we both were able to get the time off from work necessary and have the extra funds available to put the epic vacation plans into place. So, in late May 2011 we began to seriously put everything together like combining some awesome mtb riding spots with visiting National parks, logistics, reservations and the like. Once most of the major trip plans were made, I found myself a few weeks later thinking about how this 51 y/o, 233 lb, mostly FL riding, weekend warrior was going to receive an ugly beatdown once I actually have to ride real western mountains for the first time (I've read the accounts of many others who've done the same...not pretty).
I did have a decent level of fitness as my wife and I started riding bikes 3 to 4 days a week for over a decade earlier. The problem was I had also adjusted my calories upward to compensate for the extra exercise. As of the second week of June 2011, I started on a year long effort to get in really good shape for the big vacation. I knew I would lose some weight but the real focus was on going to be on fitness. I began to ride my bike(s) almost every day and for longer rides than ever before. By years end, I had pedaled almost 5500 miles and had lost appx. 20 lbs and was seeing big gains in strength and endurance. On January 1 2012, I weighed 212 lbs and was riding every day, feeling great and on my way to reaching the goal. Fast forward to May 26 2012, the day we left on vacation, I weighed 184 lbs and I had ridden over 4000 miles up to that point in the year and went on to have the awesome vacation (I linked the vlog my wife made of the trip at the bottom of this post) I hoped for and the fitness to match. Ironically, I rode less in those 22 days than I had at any point of the year and came back home only to realize that I still had the same interest in riding everyday as I had before the trip. I kept up with the riding all through the summer and fall and continued to get fitter and lighter.
Well, the year is now over and I have really found out some things about myself. I found that for the first time in my life, I believed in what I wanted and I made the commitment to do what was necessary to see it through. I have pedaled 3 bikes a total of 10,600 miles in appx. 690 hrs. averaging 29.04 miles/1.91 hrs per day. I rode 350 days this year. Weight loss for 2012 was 48 lbs and total weight loss for the 18 months was 70 lbs. I also found out that I have much more mental toughness/ability to suffer than I thought previously. This fall I signed up for, completed and enjoyed my first two century road rides.
I never set out to lose weight and I think that is why I succeeded. It was only after I committed to my fitness goals that I started to see and appreciate the weight loss. At some point I felt invested in all the work and began to make significant changes in what, when and how much I was eating. I have maintained my weight under 170 lbs for 2 months now and I am hopeful but not unrealistic about my odds of keeping the pounds off in the future. People who have known me for a long time think I look bad now, like I have an illness (one friend actually said I look like I have aids). Kind of funny how people think you look healthier when you are fat. The other funny thing is that I was always hot when I was fat and now I go around cold all the time.
I share my story in hopes that it will help someone realize that they can be successful even if you have failed many times before. Staying committed to the goal was the key. I also have to say a huge THANK YOU to my wife, family and everyone else who put up with me and all the crazy hours I spent doing this very selfish thing. Also, Thank you to the MTBR members who have helped me with questions and concerns that I have had through out the year.
2012 miles per bike:
Road bike = 8016 miles
Rigid 29er SS = 1389 miles
F/S mtb = 1195 miles
Vacation vlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhG9Skd0jpk
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